Western State Dean Bill Adams
One of the nice things about Western State is that the professors are accessible and that starts with applicants at the school. Also uncommon with most law schools where professors actually meet with people who want to meet with them and talk about the program. Most law schools, the professors are not going to become involved with you until you get into the school. But here, many of the applicants will have already met and talked to the professors. We also do have collaborative work in the first year which also makes us different, that we set up assignments and work that cause the students to work together so they’re not, although they’re still competing, they’re not always competing and its seen as a more collaborative process here.
Because law school is different from undergraduate education it is not a lecture kind of environment like most undergraduate students have come from. The method of teaching is to ask students to participate and to require them to answer questions, and so it is often times confusing, and it’s more difficult, it’s more challenging. Law school will be because the competition is tougher and the subject matter is tougher than most undergraduate courses. So having access to faculty to talk about what you’re confused about or getting as sense of how well you are doing in the classes I think is an important thing, and it is one of the things that I think makes us a good school for our students to come to.
One of the nice things that I found when I came to Western State is it’s a relatively small school. I come from a law school with 1,000 students, which is fairly typical for many law schools. And our law school is about half that size. Because it’s smaller, I think it’s easier for students to know each other, its also easier for students to know who the faculty are, its not, you’re not, just a number here. It’s a smaller, more family type of environment.
One we are the oldest law school in Orange County so we have a vast alumni network so there are a lot of successful alums here that can provide contacts for students. We are in a great location. Orange County California is one of the most desirable places to live in the country. It’s a great place to live and study. And because we do have a faculty that I think is very dedicated to helping students with programs specifically designed to help first year students make the adjustment form undergraduate education to a professional school.
There are a lot of exciting things I think about the location. One is that in Orange County there are a number of communities, so you have a lot of choices as to what type of community you’d like to live in. There’s Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Orange, Irvine, Anaheim, Long Beach isn’t that far away. We’re only 25 miles from Los Angeles. We’re only an hour and one half from San Diego, so there are lots of places to go on the weekends, there’s also a lot of places to live in Orange County, which makes it I think a dynamic place to live and study.
We do have a large alumni base, and more importantly I think for us is that many of them are successful, so applicants and students which come here know that if you get a degree from here, you can become a judge, you can become an elected official, you can become a successful attorney because we have several alums that excel in those areas. In addition it’s important because we do have several externship opportunities for students to take in their third year here, where they can work with a lawyer and get a sense of what it is going to be like to practice. Also to get some practical experience which will help them when they look for a job. It’s impressive to a new employer to say that I’ve worked in a law office for a semester while I was in law school so I’ve already had some experience in helping prepare clients and preparing pleadings, etcetera. Makes you a more marketable person when you graduate from here.